WORLD

H.E. Dr. Spyros Attas, the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus:

‘We have common historical and cultural ties’

“The 1st of October 2009 marks the 49th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus. Cyprus has been both blessed and condemned by a unique geo-strategic position, being at the crossroads of three continents, civilizations and religions and unavoidably amidst conflicting interests. It has survived through the ages by preserving its own cultural and historical identity, and in spite of the best efforts of foreign occupiers to alter or destroy it. The accession of Cyprus to the European Union in 2004 was an event of monumental importance in the history of the island, and the crowning of a titanic effort by the people of Cyprus to anchor firmly their country to a family of nations it always belonged politically, historically, culturally and economically.


Cyprus’ foreign policy objectives are the maintenance of good relations with other countries and the active involvement in processes aiming at the promotion of international cooperation, peace, stability and sustainable development. Its geo-strategic position enables it to act as a bridge between the Eastern Mediterranean region and the European Union. It has always been a dedicated supporter of human rights, sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, and a strong advocate of international peace and security. Cyprus firmly supports the strengthening of the role of the United Nations and the supremacy in international relations of the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and the 1975 Helsinki Act.


Cyprus and Romania are linked by traditional bonds of friendship and common historical and cultural ties. The two countries are already cooperating very closely within the European Union and other international fora in a spirit of solidarity. Cyprus and Romania have demonstrated in recent years their strong adherence without exceptions to the principles and norms of international law, namely those relating to the respect of the territorial integrity and independence of States and the peaceful settlement of disputes. v
Cyprus takes pride in being the 5th larger foreign investor in Romania, with an amount of investment approximating 1.2 billion EUR. More than 4,000 Cypriot companies are active in Romania, including two commercial banks. We are confident that the dynamic presence of Cyprus enterprises in Romania will overcome the dire circumstances imposed by the current financial and economic crisis. To this end it is of vital importance for our Governments to do their utmost to maintain a favorite business environment.


Cyprus is willing to share its experience with Romania in sectors such as tourism and services, and to be profited by the experience of Romania on fields such as energy. Cyprus also aspires to attracting Romanian investors wishing to expand their activities in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean and beyond. They will be benefited by the opportunities presented by the favorite business environment, infrastructure and the excellent geo-strategic location of Cyprus.


Cultural and educational ties are particularly strong between the two countries and they constitute the foundation of friendship between them. There is historical evidence of presence of Cypriot merchants in Romania as early as in the 16th century. Cypriots have served in high ranking positions in the hierarchy of the Romanian Orthodox Church, such as Lucas Metropolite of Buzau and later Walachia and Mathew Metropolite of Myra, during the reign of Mihai Bravu. They also served as Directors in prestigious academic institutions, as was the case of Marcos Porfyropoulos in the Principality’s Academy of Bucharest, during 1702-1719. In recent times a great number of Cypriots have completed their higher education in Romania. A vibrant community of some 30,000 Romanians lives and works productively in Cyprus, enriching our society and contributing to the growth of our economy. The two Governments are working closely with each other in order to improve the living conditions and to resolve possible problems associated with the presence of the Romanian community in Cyprus.


The primary objective of the Governments of Cyprus over the past decades was to achieve a peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem, a solution that will rid the island of foreign occupation troops and will reunite the territory, its people and economy after 34 years of forcible division. A solution to the Cyprus problem can only be achieved within the framework of United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Cyprus and the 1977 and 1979 High Level Agreements, which envision the creation of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, with a single sovereignty, single citizenship, single international personality, territorial integrity and political equality, as defined by the relevant UNSC Resolutions. Such a solution must be compatible with the principles of international law as well as democratic norms and the principles on which the EU is founded. The restoration of the human rights of all Cypriots, Greeks, Turks, Armenians, Maronite and Latin (Roman Catholic Community) and giving future generations the opportunity to live in a peaceful and reunified homeland, is the primary goal of the Government of Cyprus.


Since September 2008 full-fledged negotiations between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot Communities have been taking place. The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Demetris Christofias, in his capacity as the representative of the Greek Cypriot Community, has spared no effort to create conditions conducive to reaching a settlement and to tackle any obstacles, by demonstrating the necessary good will. The negotiating process so far has not been an easy affair. A proportionate concrete response and good will is still sought from the other side.


It is of paramount importance to safeguard the basic principles of this process, namely to reach an agreed solution under the Good Offices mission of the United Nations Secretary-General without arbitration or artificial timetables. Any solution will have to be eventually approved by the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot Communities in separate simultaneous referenda. The international community should continue to support this endeavor bearing in mind that the Cypriots are the real owners of the negotiating process, since their future is depended on the outcome of the solution.”

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